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Grow With These 7 Facts about Puberty in Girls and Boys

Your children will start going through some major changes as early as age 8 or 9 (girls have historically started developing earlier than boys, although it can vary by person). Puberty affects girls and boys differently, so it’s important to be ready if you have both.

The term “puberty” really means your children are reaching the age of reproductive abilities, but that definitely doesn’t mean they’re ready for reproduction. Getting your kids to open up about how they feel during this time can help them through a challenging and sometimes awkward stage, as they struggle to keep up with their own development. Here are seven things to know that could help…

1. There’s a Predictable Pattern

The physical stages of puberty are quite predictable for both girls and boys, according to MedicineNet.com. For girls, that means the first signs are usually breast development, which usually begins around age 11. Public hair tends to grow next, followed by hair in armpits. Menstruation usually begins more than 2.5-years beyond when puberty began, it adds.

For boys, the first signs are an increase in penis and testicle size (the latter develops first, around age 11). These changes usually occur before pubic hair shows up, adds the source. After hair appears in the armpits, boys will experience a deepening of their voice and increased muscle mass. Facial hair usually comes last.

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